Friday, July 16, 2010
Specialist in Agricultural Policy
Two separate bills are advancing in the 111th Congress that could provide nearly $4 billion of supplemental funds for agricultural programs in FY2010. The agricultural provisions in these bills have a relatively small funding impact compared with the nonagricultural provisions in the bills.
H.R. 4213 (commonly known as the "tax extenders" bill) would provide up to $3.6 billion for agriculture-related programs. The House and Senate are trading amendments to reconcile differences between each chamber's version of the bill. The most recent House-passed version from May 28, 2010, includes $1.48 billion for agricultural disaster assistance, $1.15 billion for a settlement of the Pigford lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and $1.06 billion to extend tax provisions for biodiesel and conservation. The Senate-passed version from March 10, 2010, does not contain funding for the Pigford settlement, but does include the other provisions. Difficulty reaching agreement over the budget impact of the bill, and the need for offsets rather than emergency spending, may be jeopardizing the prospects that some of the agriculture provisions will remain in the bill.
H.R. 4899 (a supplemental appropriations bill for war spending and disaster response) would provide relatively smaller appropriations for other agricultural programs, as well as rescind prior appropriations from various agricultural accounts. The House and Senate are trading amendments to reconcile difference between each chamber's version of the bill. The most recent House-passed version from July 1, 2010, contains $1.4 billion for agriculture before rescissions, including $1.15 billion for the Pigford settlement (duplicated from H.R. 4213 because of procedural uncertainty), $150 million for international food aid (P.L. 480 Food for Peace), $50 million for food purchases in a domestic nutrition assistance program (The Emergency Food Assistance Program, TEFAP), $32 million for the farm loan program (to support an additional $950 million of loans), $18 million for emergency forest restoration, and additional authorities to raise fees for the Section 502 rural housing loan guarantee program. The Senate-passed version from May 27, 2010, contains $200 million for agriculture before rescissions, including identical provisions for the loan programs and forestry, but does not have the Pigford or TEFAP funding.
Rescissions from agriculture programs are significant in the most recent House-passed version of H.R. 4899, totaling $1.0 billion, and are much larger than in the Senate-passed bill. The House bill from July 1 would rescind $487 million from reserve funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), $422 million from rural development (including $300 million of rural broadband funding), and $70 million from unobligated balances from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Both the House and Senate bills would offset $50 million by limiting mandatory outlays for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).
Both H.R. 4213 and H.R. 4899 await further floor action to resolve differences between the chambers.
Date of Report: July 8, 2010
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: R41255
Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
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